Arsenal

The seven Arsenal youngsters available for loan in January after Per Mertesacker decision

Arsenal have made available several academy players for loan in January.

With so many players and just three competitions at senior level this season, the Gunners are struggling to get much senior game time for their youngsters.

football.london takes a closer look at the players set to go out on loan next month.

Folarin Balogun

The 20-year-old recently picked up the Premier League 2 Player of the Month award for November after 15 goals in 13 appearances for the under-23s this season.

Balogun is wanted by a number of clubs including Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and French side Saint-Etienne.

Arsenal believe that a loan spell would be beneficial for the next stage of his development, with the player set to make a decision on his future in the coming days.

Omar Rekik

Rekik is now a full senior international for Tunisia and has become a mainstay of the Gunners’ Under-23s backline.

He frequently trains with the first team and will be in demand after his solid performances in the heart of defence.

Able to play in defensive midfield and at right back too, the 20-year-old is considered one of the hottest prospects in the academy right now.

Tim Akinola

After arriving in North London last summer following his release from Huddersfield, Akinola initially struggled with the transition.

The midfielder has really gone up a level this year, though, and has been a standout in the number eight position alongside Charlie Patino and Salah Oulad.

He was considered for a loan this summer, but having shown that he’s capable of thriving for the under-23s, now may be a good time for him to step up.

Jack Henry-Francis, who was given his senior debut in the pre-season friendly against Hibernian, is also pushing for a spot having signed his professional contract recently, so Arsenal would be well covered in the midfield positions if Akinola were to depart.

Zak Swanson

Florida-born Swanson has been with Arsenal for over a decade and can play across the defence.

He had a brief loan spell at MVV Maastricht in August 2020 but was recalled a few months later.

He was included on the loan list sent out by the Gunners to other clubs last summer and will most likely head to an EFL side in January.

James Olayinka

Olayinka had an injury-hit 2020/21 campaign and missed the majority of his loan spell at Southend United because of torn ankle ligaments.

The Hale End academy product has yet to make his senior debut for the club, but was on the bench for the Community Shield match against Liverpool last season.

He has trained with the first team on many occasions this season and will most likely go out on loan to an EFL side in January.

Ben Cottrell

Cottrell made his Arsenal first team debut in the Europa League last season, featuring as a substitute against Dundalk.

He was a regular for the Under-23s last season and will be looking to work on his physicality over the coming months.

Made available for loan earlier in the summer, there remains the possibility that he could stay and play a full season of U23s games.

Ryan Alebiosu

Alebiosu was in talks with Sunderland over a loan move last summer but the move fell through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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